It was about five in the evening when Grandma asked Daddy to drop her maid home. Daddy groaned but obeyed her. I was sitting nearby and Daddy whispered to me. ‘Nicole, please come with me.’
I firmly shook my head for I didn’t like the maid at all. She ticked me off if I so much so as interrupted someone speaking. She was very like a second-nanny. Daddy looked at me with pleading eyes.
That was a look I couldn’t say no to. So I said ‘Oh, okay.’
‘Thanks, sweetheart. I can have a conversation with you and she won’t be able to ask me anything about our trip to Australia.’ said Daddy, gleefully.
So we boarded the car with the maid sitting behind. Soon we reached the narrow road, down which our maid lived. We went down that lane slowly as it had many sharp corners and turns. Suddenly round a particularly sharp corner, Daddy hit the brakes. I flew forward because; as usual I had forgotten to put on my seatbelt.
Then I saw why Daddy had hit the brakes. A crowd of boys, on their motorbikes, had blocked his side of the road. They were young boys, all in their twenties. I glared at them as we went around them. Doing this was risky because there was another sharp turn ahead and anyone coming around at top speed would slam into them.
‘Beasts.’ I muttered under my breath.
Soon we reached our maid’s house. She waved cheerily as we disappeared up the lane. I waved back too, more because I was glad to see the back of her than politely. Daddy cautiously approached the corner where we had seen the boys, in case they came zooming round the corner or anything.
It was a good thing he did because although the boys were exactly where they had been, there was a car parked on our present side of the road. So we were totally blocked. The boy right at behind looked at Daddy and put his palm up.
This either meant ‘Wait’ or ‘Five minutes.’ But whatever it meant Daddy didn’t mean to wait as I could see. He was impatient. So he rolled down the window and spoke to the boy at the back in a not-so-polite-voice. ‘Boss, you can easily move your bike. Why tell me to wait?’
The boy made a face and began to pull his bike back. At the same time Daddy began to edge forward, hence nearly graving his bike. The boy immediately yelped and got off his bike. ‘Can’t you wait? Don’t you have any patience?’ he roared through the window.
Now Daddy was impatient. But he didn’t have a hot temper (like I did) and neither was he eager to get into a fight with those ruffians. But for me, this was the limit.
‘Can’t you see who you’re talking to?’ he continued.
‘Oh yes, we can you Bumble-Headed nut!’ I said, immediately seeing red. I said this because he had black hair which was dyed yellow in stripes.
He was taken aback. But I went on ‘Don’t you see who you’re talking to? Well, I’ll tell you. I am Nicole Travasso; one of the youngest writers of India, at twelve years and this man here is my father: Danny Travasso, the best internet writer in the whole of India.
And I’ll do you a favour by telling you who you are. You are nothing but a trouble-maker with too much ego.’
At this I stopped for breath. Nobody said a word. ‘Now are you going to move your bike or not?’ asked Daddy, calmly.
Bumble-Head swallowed hard and nodded. He moved his bike and meekly stood aside. Daddy then removed his car and as we went on I turned back and scowled at them. Surprisingly, no one even dared to glare back!
Daddy began to tell me off. ‘Never get into fights with any of these weird guys. Some will be drunk and could beat you up or do even worse.’
‘If only you had let me say more.’ I fumed.
‘I was afraid that they might have suddenly got furious or something. But luckily they didn’t.’ said my father, in a soothing voice.
‘India, oh India. I hate this country.’ I seethed. ‘I wish we could shift to Australia or somewhere.’
‘You can’t mean that.’ said Daddy.
‘Oh I do.’ I said and then looked out of the window, ignoring further remarks from my father.
Suddenly Daddy rammed the brakes and I flew in front, having as usual forgotten to put on my seatbelt. Then I saw why he had slammed the brakes. This was because there was a crowd in the middle of the road. I looked at Daddy and asked ‘Should we go and see?’
He nodded and got out of the car, with me following. I pushed to the middle of the crowd and there I saw something that made me want to shriek but touched my heart at exactly the same time. I stood transfixed with disbelief as I groped for Daddy’s hand.
‘Is this real or am I dreaming?’ I asked him, with tear-filled eyes.
For in front of us was a dog. A stray dog. It’s hind legs were crushed and bleeding. This was what made me want to shriek. But next to it was a vet. I guessed it was a vet because he was wearing a white coat and seemed to know exactly how to manage the dog.
Meanwhile another lot of people were huddled around the truck and were yelling ‘We want justice, we want justice.’ over and over again.
Daddy asked someone what all this was about. ‘These trucks are carrying trees that have been cut down from out local wood. In the process they have knocked this poor dog down. In this village nature and people live in harmony and the city folk are destroying that.’ said the man.
I looked touched and then we went back into the car. ‘We’ll just have to take another route back home.’ said Daddy.
‘That was really nice of the village folk.’ I said. ‘India, oh India. How I love my country.’